Wouldn’t you want to know? That’s the question I’ve been asking since well before the last election took place. The President has made the claim that millions of non-citizens, either of the legal or illegal varieties, cast ballots in the 2016 race. (Presumably for Hillary Clinton for the most part.) That total number remains in dispute for good reason, but the fact that non-citizens have voter registration cards and in some cases are actually showing up to vote has never really been in dispute, despite what you regularly hear from Democrats and cable news personalities. Further proof of this reality comes to us from Ohio this week where the Secretary of State has concluded an investigation and found that there were indeed such votes cast and that law enforcement has become involved. (NBC local)
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that an investigation has uncovered that hundreds of non-citizens registered to vote in the state, and dozens voted illegally.
According to a release from Husted, 385 non-citizens registered to vote in Ohio and 82 that voted in at least one election.
“In light of the national discussion about illegal voting it is important to inform our discussions with facts. The fact is voter fraud happens, it is rare and when it happens, we hold people accountable,” Secretary Husted said.
Right up front we should note that we’re not talking about huge numbers here. Less than 100 illegal votes and a bit more than 30 dozen registration cards in the wrong hands represent only a tiny portion of the state’s total voter base. But as with all of these discussions, two immediate questions come to mind. First of all, how thorough of an investigation was this? Based on the details being reported this sounds like yet another case of a random sampling, albeit an extensive one. The total population of Ohio is large enough that scouring each and every name on the voter rolls and carefully comparing them to citizenship status (where available) in a period of 12 weeks or so would be a Herculean task. Are there even more? We can’t say for sure at this point, but it may give you at least some sense of comfort that the ones which were uncovered remain relatively small in number and the state is moving to eliminate them quickly.
A second point to consider is that this particular investigation took place, again, in Ohio. We’re not exactly talking about one of the great immigrant centers of America. A similar, thorough investigation in places such as Florida, Texas and especially California could well produce markedly different results. The Golden State in particular could clearly do with such scrutiny given the number of dead people who wound up being found on the voter rolls in the greater Los Angeles area.
And finally, don’t be wiping the sweat off your brow too quickly when you hear a number like 385 being bandied about. That’s nearly 400 people who were in possession of valid voter registration cards when they clearly should not have been. This isn’t a small thing. It means that the system is flawed, can fail and has already failed hundreds of times. Doesn’t that tell you that there’s something wrong? I have no way of knowing at this point how many illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. But my point here is that neither do you, so please stop trying to tell us that this is not an issue. Similar investigations need to be done on a national level and the system needs to be reformed because any number of illegally obtained voter registration cards greater than zero is too high.